Fabio Stevenazzi, a diocesan priest in Italy, was a doctor before entering the seminary. Now he is donning his white coat once more to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Italy is facing a national crisis caused by a lack of hospital beds and health personnel. Now that the churches in Italy have been emptied by the Italian government’s emergency decrees in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stevenazzi, 48, has decided to return to medical practice in order to help those infected with COVID-19, according to a report by the website of the diocese of Milan.
As a member of the clergy, his action is an expression of the pastoral creativity necessary in these times. It’s also an embodiment of the church as a “field hospital,” a metaphor dear to Pope Francis.
The Italian priest, who ministers to the pastoral community of San Cristoforo di Gallarate, will now work at a hospital in Busto Arsizio, a city of 83,290 inhabitants in northern Italy. Busto Arsizio is the sixth most populous city in Lombardy, the Italian region that has suffered the worst outbreak in all of Europe.
When Fr. Stevenazzi heard the call of Pope Francis to be creative and to be closer than ever to God’s people in these difficult times, he expressed to his superiors his wish to help as a doctor. His colleagues at the hospital received him with open arms. He was recruited immediately, as foreseen in the official communiqué issued by the Lombardy Region to deal with the health emergency.
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